Book Excerpt: HONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven

honeymoons1 copyHONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven / Mystery /  Released March 1, 2017 by Wives of Bath Press

When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Chapter One 

“Gurn, darling, wasn’t that woman lying in exactly the same position when we left for breakfast?”

Shading my eyes, I looked in the direction of a chaise lounge about seventy yards away sitting half in the lapping waves of the Pacific and half on the warm sands of Hanalei Bay. Dragged into position by sunbathers looking to have the best of both worlds, it seemed to be a common practice on the island. Ten or fifteen others dotted the Hanalei Bay coastline near their respective beachfront rooms.

I’d noticed the woman around seven o’clock in the morning when I stepped outside with my coffee and the morning’s newspaper. I would have liked to take a run along the beach before breakfast, but was recuperating from a sprained ankle, so instead I read “USA Today” while slurping my latte. A poor substitute.

Our honeymoon bungalow was set off in a corner of the Royal Kauai Hotel’s expansive beachfront property. Other than the mandatory public access, which allowed for occasional wanderings by guests along the beach, it was private, quiet, and heaven.

The slender woman was lying on her back in a rather racy red bikini. Legs outstretched, arms by her side, large floppy black hat covering her face, neck and hair, she hadn’t moved in over three hours. I unwrapped myself from my own lounge chair and stood.

“She was, wasn’t she? In exactly the same position.”

My husband of less than a week remained seated in one of the two turquoise and white beach chairs on our lanai. But he leaned forward, removed his sunglasses, his grey-green eyes focusing on her.

“You could be right, but I wasn’t paying attention to her, not really.” He reached up and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me on his lap. “I only have eyes for you, sweetheart.” He then proceeded to kiss my neck with loud, smacking noises, intentionally more comical than romantic.

“Yes, darling,” I said, wiggling within his embrace. “But seriously, I don’t think she’s moved in hours.”

Gurn glanced in her direction in earnest. “She could be sleeping one off.”

“She could.” My tone was doubtful.

“You think she might be sick or something? Why don’t you walk down there and have a chat with her? But if you wake her up and she gets a mad on, remember I told you so.”

“Why don’t we go together?”

I flashed him what I hoped was a winning smile. It must have been along the winning lines because he let out a sigh of resignation and released me. I removed myself from his lap and got to my feet. Gurn looked at me, the lopsided smile springing to his face.

“You’re lucky you’re so gorgeous I’ll do anything you want. You and your twilight colored eyes,” he added.

“Aw, I’m not so gorgeous,” I said modestly, batting said eyes at him.

“If you say so.” He shrugged.

I feigned shock at his words, gave him a playful smack on the arm, and we both laughed. Gurn stood, and with a groan stretched his now tanned six foot one frame. We’d been married right after he returned from a covert mission a little on the banged up side. It was just a few scrapes, bruises, and a black eye, nothing serious, but he’d made one weird looking groom.

To civilians, he was known as Mr. Hanson, CPA extraordinaire and owner of Hanson Accounting Firm. To the U.S. Navy, he was known as Lt. Commander Hanson, ex-navy SEAL, often called away on highly classified and secretive missions. To me, he was Gurn, the man I loved.

In fairness, I was a little on the banged up side, too, having just completed a case where the villain was unwilling to see my side of things i.e. going to jail for murder. I was for; villain against. After a few rounds, I had my way but not without sustaining a sprained ankle and a black and blue hand. The ankle was currently embraced by a support boot. The hand was on its own. Everything hurt, so I was either icing various parts, taking Advil, or downing the occasional Mai Tai. Rum can be very medicinal.

I studied the lone woman lying on the chaise. So did Gurn. Without saying a word, we walked hand in hand in her direction. Actually, Gurn walked. I hobbled in the cumbersome boot I was relegated to wearing for the next four to six weeks.

Once there, we unlocked hands, Gurn going around to the far side of the lounge. I looked at him and he looked at me. Raising his forefinger, he tapped the air in the woman’s direction, indicating it was time for me to do something.

I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

“Ah, miss?”

Still nothing.

“Excuse me,” I said louder then waited.

“Miss?” This time I jostled the chaise lounge with my knee. The movement caused the sandal to drop off her left foot and land in the water. It bobbed on gentle waves.

New Release Book Excerpt: TROUBLED SPIRITS by Sandy Wolters

419T43CkM6LTROUBLED SPIRITS by Sandy Wolters / Spirit Voices Book One 

Romance / Fantasy – ghosts / Released May 5, 2017 by The Wild Rose Press

Blurb  Jody has been a conduit for ghosts her entire life. Not only do they come to her for help, but at times she experiences what they feel when they die. This gift or curse comes at a high personal cost—especially when a child is involved. There’s not a man alive who is willing to compete with troubled spirits.

Jared, a wealthy and determined high-powered P.I., has lived without love his entire life. In business if he wants something, he goes after it with a vengeance and is usually not denied. His life experiences have taught him that believing and trusting in others is a dead end street.

But on one magical night Jared meets Jody, and they soon find themselves on the brink of falling in love. But will the spirits surrounding Jody relinquish their hold on her in order for Jared to stake his claim or will their love disappear in an ethereal puff of smoke?

Book Excerpt

Chapter One

Startled from a deep sleep, Jody opened her eyes to find a young child’s misty form sitting on the bed—tears streaming down her face. As it often happened with kids that cry for any length of time, the poor little girl’s sobs were punctuated with hiccups.

Groggy from sleep, her first instinct had her reaching out to embrace the small girl and offer whatever solace she could. Tendrils of unease spiraled through Jody’s body when her fingers unexpectedly encountered cold air instead of warm flesh. Her mind roused instantly. She knew at once this child was dead. Spirits had none of the warmth of the living—though they possessed all the same passions.

As she rose to a sitting position, her heart couldn’t help but break for the tiny, cherubic girl who somehow had found a way onto her bed. The heavy weight of the child’s despair settled squarely on Jody’s shoulders. As the realization of the spirit visitation hit home, she found herself in the unenviable position of having no clue how to appease the little girl. She’d just have to stay the course and watch as the child exhausted her pain-laden tears enough to calm herself and speak her mind. Maybe that was all the little angel wanted from her.

Waiting through the weeping and hiccups proved to be agonizing. Several tense minutes passed until finally this beautiful little girl with auburn hair raised her cobalt blue eyes to gaze into Jody’s soul. “I’m Fiona. I want to talk to my mommy and daddy.

Stricken by the sad message, Jody’s breath caught in her throat. Her hand instinctively covered her heart, trying unsuccessfully to repel the grief radiating from this tiny apparition. The emotional turmoil Fiona expelled dampened Jody’s soul and weighed heavily on her. Anxiety rolled off the child’s spirit in waves and crashed into her body. Each new surge of emotion left Jody feeling battered as if being caught between an angry ocean and steep rock cliffs with no means of escape.

Warning bells blared in Jody’s head. Her empathic abilities were on high alert. Under these conditions, she’d never be able to distance herself from the onslaught of the little ghost girl’s crippling emotions. Unable to separate herself from the child’s grief made coming up with the appropriate response to soothe Fiona impossible.

“Oh, baby, I’m so sorry you’re hurting.” Her heart broke for this child as well as the mother and father who had lost her. She couldn’t imagine how parents found the strength to cope with the loss of one so young and sweet.

“I sit with my mommy all the time, but she can’t see me. She can’t hear me. When I try to touch her, she doesn’t feel me. I’ve tried to talk to my daddy too, but he’s so worried about mommy that he…he…” The poor little girl couldn’t continue.

Fiona’s bottom lip started to quiver as she fought valiantly to control her tears. Witnessing the sheer determination in that small gesture made Jody’s pulse race. The ghost girl caught her lip between her teeth to quell the tremors. The show of absolute strength in that gesture was duly noted. The young child trying her best to suppress her emotions alerted Jody to the importance of this visitation. It saddened her to see one so young digging that deep to gain the power needed to stabilize such debilitating emotions. The fortitude required for such a feat was impressive.

New Release: RAZOR GIRL by Carl Hiaasen

51aUhOg+YCLRAZOR GIRL by Carl Hiaasen / Suspense & Thriller

Released May 2, 2017 by Penguin Random House

Review: ONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline

51KVJDhJL+LONE PERFECT LIE by Lisa Scottoline / Suspense

Released April 11, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Review

I’ve never been let down by any of Lisa Scottoline’s books I’ve read, and “One Perfect Lie” is no exception to that experience. Lisa’s trademark style of writing isn’t found in a unique flair of prose, but in an immediate immersion into a story that hits the ground running and takes the reader along with it.

Even though I gingerly dipped my toe into a story I worried might have more grit than I could handle, I was happily in over my head within the first few paragraphs and gladly stayed there until the end.

“One Perfect Lie” drops us into the careful planning of a domestic terrorist, only to shock the reader about half way through when unexpected character motives explode on the page. Built upon a quiet community and the close knit members of a high school baseball team and their teachers, Lisa stacks chapter next to chapter, a serial revelation of what makes up each boy, his family, and the teachers around him. The reader knows there is a terrorist plot brewing beneath the unfolding psychology of each person and family, but has to stay on the fast-paced ride of personal betrayal, success, insecurity, loss, and achievement to see these characters through to the end. A race against time and against individual demons, “One Perfect Lie” is a multidimensional story of broken hearts, broken lives, and the individual ways people choose to mend them.

This story is not gruesome or unpalatable for the weak-kneed, but it is gripping from beginning to end. Lisa did an excellent job of tying up every character and dilemma, bringing satisfaction even in heartache. Five stars for “One Perfect Lie.”

Review provided by Colleen L. Donnelly Amazon #1 Bestselling Author of “Mine to Tell”

 

 

Book Excerpt: ANGEL LOST, ANGEL FOUND by Annalisa Russo

perf5.000x8.000.inddANGEL LOST, ANGEL FOUND by Annalisa Russo

Historical Romance / Released Nov 2015 by The Wild Rose Press

Charity strode over the weathered oak floor toward the front of the restaurant. A man stood hipshot on the other side of the front door. Tall, rangy, with a head of unruly light brown hair, sun streaked and too long for what current fashion dictated. Mussed now, she saw, from the ride on the Harley motorbike parked in front of her place, or perhaps from shoving his fingers through it impatiently, as he was doing now.

He was in his shirtsleeves— definitely not protocol. The leather jacket he’d worn for the ride was thrown over the bike’s seat, but he didn’t appear too worried about it. His shirt was casual but, to Charity’s trained eye, expensive, like the scuffed boots he wore. He pounded on the door again, and his brows slashed over eyes a cold ice blue. His pretty face and squared off jaw needed a shave.

“I’m not hiring,” Charity said through the door and started to pull down the roller shade mounted above the glass.

He glanced up when she spoke and gave her a quick and rude perusal. “I’m not looking for a job.” His drawl sounded like honey over gravel, and he didn’t appear too pleased by her response. “I’m here to see Charity O’Malley.”

“About what?” The man appeared irritated—with her.

“Look, lady, Big Mike sent me. Go get her, and I’ll explain.”

“Big Mike’s dead. He didn’t send you.”

 

Annalisa Russo is a Midwest girl who grew up in an overpopulated first-generation Italian family in the burbs of Chicago, the setting for her historical romance novels based in the 20th century. Her first series was completed with the release of Angel Boy, the fourth book of The Cavelli Angel Saga. The series chronicles the lives of Italian immigrants in the 1920’s and 30’s. Along with a passion for reading and writing, Annalisa enjoys gardening, cooking for company, and frequently invents reasons for traveling. The mother of two grown children, she inherited a narcissistic tabby named Buster who really runs the show.

New Release: CHARMED BY CHARLIE by Amanda Uhl

Charmed by Charlie1800x2700CHARMED BY CHARLIE by Amanda Uhl / Contemporary Romance / Released April 17, 2017 by Borough Publishing Group

Everybody loves marketing whiz Charlie Solanger…except the woman he really wants.

PAINT, PROMOTIONS & PERFECTION

Creative genius Charlie Solanger has it all: good looks, money, intelligence, charm. And when he swoops in to save Reynolds Paint Company with a brilliant marketing campaign, he has all the ladies in the office vying for his attention. Everyone except math whiz Valerie Wilson.

Val’s not happy Charlie stole her promotion. Worse, his brand of flirtatious charm is reminiscent of her cheating ex-fiancé. So, how come she can’t get him out of her head? The more she challenges him, the more interested—and interesting—he becomes. What secrets is Charlie hiding, and who or what is behind the sudden mysterious drain on their company’s funds? The only way to find out is to join forces. Then it will be a battle of wills…and a triumph of hearts.

Advance Readers Weigh In

Author Amanda Uhl lets us in on the romantic tension and intrigue from the very first page. All the reader has to do is hold on for the ride.”

“I really LOVE this book!!! It’s my genre, which probably helps, but I didn’t want to put it down. Just read it in one sitting. It’s easy to see the character development and their tendencies based on how they think and talk — not just for the main characters but everyone (I feel like I know families just like George’s family with the somewhat crazy mother figure with the strong personality, etc.). It’s great!”

 

IMG_0703AMANDA UHL has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Visit her online at http://www.amandauhl.com and follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandauhlauthor or Twitter at @AuAuthor.

Review: MURDER AT THE MANSION by Janet Finsilver

515ogsanePL            From Wisconsin we go to California, for Murder at the Mansion, by Janet Finsilver (Kensington,2016,$15.00). Kelly Jackson has returned to take up her post as manger of a B&B at Redwood Cove, where the annual whale-watching festival has attracted a slew of tourists. Since the B&B isn’t quite finished, Kelly is asked to catalog the antiques left in the old Victorian mansion at Redwood Heights. It sounds like an easy job, but when one of the tourists is murdered, Kelly is among the suspects. To clear her name, she enlists the “Silver Sentinels”, a groups of senior citizens with a lot of savvy and a dogged sense of justice, to help clear her name and find the killer. Old sins have a long reach, and a local legend has roots in fact, as Kelly uncovers murderers in both past and present. Kelly’s love life gets more complicated as she untangles the threads of local history. We may expect more mayhem in this corner of Northern California.

 

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, became available on June 7, 2016. MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE is scheduled to be out in March 2017